Visiting The Florida Oceanographic Center

A visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center affords you unlimited access to a stingray tank and much more, though the stingrays remain the favorite. The Center offers daily feeding times where you can grab a shrimp by the tail and a stingray will come along a suck it out of your hand. Awesome, but not if you’re allergic to shrimp. If you are, like me, then please maintain a shrimp-free experience. If you are a preschooler, you might also be just as interested in the sensation of water as you are the stingrays, which is just a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Also there to explore are touch tanks with star fish, anemones, snails and such. The “one finger only” rule applies here. Note: If your preschooler likes to carry a toy with them, try not to have the toy visit the touch tank. It happens.

Hands on exhibits can be found outside under a shaded area and inside as well. The grounds are accessible to strollers and wheelchairs alike. You can bring coolers for lunch at a picnic table. If not bringing lunch, definitely bring drinks to stay hydrated. If you forget, there are vending machines for drinks but no snacks for sale.

The second most watched exhibit was the Lagoon Fish Feeding Program. There is a large man-made pond that houses a variety of local fish. At feeding time, they come out to play. There are more fish on display inside in small tanks and aquariums. Keep an eye out for the moray eel.

We like to walk the trails on our trips and many trails in Florida lead to a view of the water, in this case, the beautiful Indian River Lagoon.

The Center offers many educational opportunities throughout the year and hosts a popular summer camp as well. There are numerous opportunities to extend the learning experience, or just take a simple day trip like we did. Either way, a visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center is a day well spent.

Visit Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center for more information. Print out their Animals on Display page and create your own scavenger hunt form!

Saint Lucie County Fair

Who doesn’t get a little excited when they see a Ferris wheel in the distance?

Fairs always make me want to watch Charlotte’s Web. They call to the child in each of us; our day at the Saint Lucie County Fair did just that.

We started our day at the petting zoo. After paying a dollar for a cup of carrots, we entered the feeding frenzy. The animals were all happy and healthy. Playful baby goats entertained us as their siblings stuck their heads through the bottom of their pens and snatched at our cup of carrots. Sneaky goats. The piggies posed for us while the emus remained aloof. We expected cows – but kangaroos and a zebra? That’s what I’m talking about – best petting zoo ever!

More animals awaited us as we meandered down the wide paved paths that were a welcome addition to the “new” fairgrounds, as were the barns built especially for the horses, steers, and hogs on concrete flooring. Those visiting the fair with strollers or wheelchairs had great accessibility to all events.

Ever seen a Clydesdale? They are a creature like no other. You slow down and bask in their presence differently than the other animals. I kinda stood there in awe for a little while, like my nephew did when the camel bent down to visit him. I walked away glad to have had the moment.

As night fell, the lure of the lights drew us over to the rides and games, but first to the ticket booth for a $20 wrist band. The rides were plentiful, clean, well maintained, and had friendly attendants. We mainly kept to the kiddie rides and enjoyed some “shark” fishing where my nephew won a glow in the dark light saber.

We rode home with the dim glow of fair magic beaming in the back seat as the little ones drifted off to sleep. A day well spent…